On Thursday 2 February at 4.15 pm everyone was invited to the School Chapel to join in the termly Choral Evensong.
On this very special day in the Christian Calendar, we were particularly remembering three things: The Feast of Candlemas, the blessing of candles for the coming year, the purification of the Virgin Mary 40 days after Jesus' birth and the presentation of the baby Jesus at the Temple in Jerusalem, where he was recognised as the Messiah by the old man Simeon and the prophetess Anna, who both followed the leading of the Holy Spirit.
In fact, Simeon's words of recognition in Luke's Gospel give us the very words of the Nunc Dimittis which are at the heart of every Choral Evensong and particularly relevant for Candlemas. As our Service came at the end of Epiphany (the 4 week season that focuses on 'revelation' after Christmas), the music fittingly and movingly reminded us of these great themes: the opening hymn Immortal, Invisible recalled the great mystery of God, which can only be revealed; the D minor Walmisley settings of the Magnificat and the Nunc Dimittis reminded us of the Virgin Mary and the old man Simeon; and Tallis' Anthem If Ye Love Me beautifully recreated Jesus' words from John's Gospel about the leading of the Holy Spirit.
I would particularly like to thank Mr Hughes, Miss Mitchell, Dr Winkley, Lukas Russell (Fifth Form, Gascoigne) and the School Choir for the beautiful music; and I would also like to thank Mr Fenton, who took so much care to decorate the Chapel with as many candles as possible in celebration of Candlemas.
The Revd Ian Howard, School Chaplain